Town's sharing Walmart proceeds deemed a worthy tactic

2014-03-02T00:00:00Z Town's sharing Walmart proceeds deemed a worthy tacticGregory Tejeda Times Correspondent
March 02, 2014 12:00 am  • 

When communities try to attract new businesses, often it involves a business leaving one municipality to set up shop in the village next door.

Such was the case in the 2009 move of Sam’s Club from Lansing to Calumet City. Or when Napleton Honda and Best Buy moved from Calumet City to Lansing.

Officials who handle economic development for area communities were interested in what happened in Glenwood, where a Walmart store is likely to shut down and relocate to the north in Homewood as a Super Walmart, filling a gap created last year when a Super Kmart store closed.

Homewood Village President Rich Hofeld says he’s willing to give Glenwood 10 percent of the sales tax revenues generated by the new Super Walmart for a three-year period.

In Lansing, Village Administrator J. Wynsma says there have been instances where Lansing received money from other communities that took businesses away from them.

Economic development officials in Calumet City and South Holland say it is a tactic they should consider in their future efforts to draw businesses to their communities.

“It’s entirely a progressive tactic for a community to consider,” said Bryan Swanson, Calumet City’s economic development coordinator.

“It’s not something I have heard of many communities doing, but it is something we could consider doing ourselves as we try to draw more businesses to Calumet City,” Swanson said.

South Holland Economic Development Director John Watson said he believes there are instances, such as the circumstance with the Glenwood Walmart store, where, “Such a payment is only the right thing to do.”

Hofeld said he is willing to offer help to Glenwood because, “I don’t like to see a business come from another town.”

He also said he has a friendly relationship with Glenwood Village President Kerry Durkin who has cited the upcoming loss of Walmart as a reason why the village cannot afford to fill two vacancies on the Police Department.

Officials from Calumet City, Lansing and South Holland all said that for any economic development proposals to succeed for their communities, officials must keep each other’s needs in mind.

Swanson said of the area, “In some ways, Calumet City, Lansing and South Holland are one big shopping district.”

Watson agreed, saying South Holland residents don’t give it any thought when they cross over a municipal boundary to make a purchase.

“They don’t pay much attention to geographic boundaries,” he said. “They see the area as one big community.”

Wynsma said an aspect that could make it easier for communities to develop a more sharing attitude is the fact that many suburban municipalities already cooperate on issues such as flood control, public safety and transportation infrastructure.

He said those ties can even extend to communities across the Illinois/Indiana border, where Wynsma said Lansing works with Munster on issues of flood control.

“Our issues are their issues, and what benefits them can also benefit us,” he said.

Times Correspondent Paul Czapkowicz contributed to this story

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